Rivian shares reach new low after reporting disappointing Q4 earnings

The company also missed expectations on 2022 delivery guidance

Rivian, the U.S. electric automaker that went public late last year, reported its fourth-quarter financial results and calendar 2021 outcome, results that along with its production forecast for 2022 disappointed Wall Street and sent shares to a new low.

Rivian said Thursday that it generated $54 million in Q4 2021 revenue, nearly precisely its full-year tally of $55 million. Rivian delivered 909 vehicles in the final three months of the year.

The company did move into more large-scale deliveries in Q4 2021, but it simply was not enough to bring it even close to breaking-even, as anticipated. On an adjusted basis, Rivian lost $2.43 per share.

Yahoo Finance reported in advance that the company was expected to lose $2.05 per share on an adjusted basis against $63.99 million in total revenue for the period. More simply, Rivian posted smaller revenues than the street expected, and lost more money.

In regular trading, shares of Rivian fell a sharp 6.35% to $41.16 during a generally negative session, reaching a new 52-week low; the Nasdaq Composite was itself off nearly a full percent. In after-hours trading, following its earnings release, Rivian shares shed more than 13%.

Naturally we’re always skeptical of adjusted numbers, so let’s dial in some GAAP results while we’re here. In Q4 2021, Rivian’s revenue of $54 million led to negative gross profit of $383 million, and a net loss inclusive of all costs of $2.46 billion, or $4.84 per share. For the full 2021 period, the company’s $55 million in revenues led to negative gross profit of $465 million and a net loss of $4.69 billion, or -$22.98 per share.

We are not merely including gross profit results to be cheeky. It’s an issue for the company, which said in its earnings report that it expects to “recognize negative gross margins throughout 2022.” So don’t expect to see the company climb closer to break-even status in operating terms this year; it will instead claw its way toward gross profit-neutrality this year.

But that’s just numbers. And numbers in the red are standard for EV companies busy ramping production. So let’s talk deliveries, pricing, the snarled supply chain and what’s coming for the company in the coming quarters.

Looking ahead

Yahoo Finance reported in advance that analysts had expected the company to target 40,000 vehicle deliveries in 2022. However, in its earnings report Rivian instead said that it will “have sufficient parts and materials to produce 25,000 vehicles across our R1 and RCV platforms” in the year, a sharply smaller number.

That delivery number will square out to what Rivian anticipates is a $4.75 billion adjusted EBITDA loss for the year, with the company not guiding to a more rigorous profit metric.

Rivian’s 2022 is shaping up to be a challenging one fraught with supply chain crunches and competition from the likes GM and Ford, which are launching their own EV pickup trucks and SUVs.

CEO RJ Scaringe said the company will announce next week a new chief operating officer to help scale production and manage the supply chain.

“The biggest constraints we now face really lie with the supply chain,” Scaringe told investors on the call. “It’s really a small number of parts, for which the supplier isn’t ramping at the same rate as our production lines are ramping up.”

“Were it not for supplier constraints,” he added, “we’re confident we could achieve in excess of 50,000 vehicles this year.”

Or in other words, if the world was different, Rivian’s revenue ramp would also look, well, different.